It's the DO's birthday. Her mom and I sent flowers but I think the best way to show my appreciation and love for her is to tell an embarrassing story. Yep, I'm that dad. The story is true so help me. The names were not changed to protect the innocent. Or the guilty.
The DO was very young when I was in the Army. I think she was about 3 when I joined up and got sent to sunny Ft. Ord California. We first lived in a nearby city but when she was about 4 years old we moved into base housing. We also had a young, yellow tiger stripe cat named Rowdy. Now, the DO loved that cat but he really lived up to his name. He was a bit of a maniac, especially as a kitten. Which, at only a year old or so, he pretty much still was at the time of "The Incident". Oh not physically just maturity wise. Physically he was, well you know, a cat. Maybe 6 or 7 pounds and none of it exactly 'docile'. Semi domesticated is the term we're looking for here I think.
One evening we were sitting quietly at home when I heard a strangled mewling sound coming from the area of The DO's bedroom. It sounded like something in distress but not fatally so. More like cries of consternation or disbelief. Perhaps discombobulation. I looked over and presently there appeared my daughter walking down the hall with something grasped in her tiny hands and draped over her shoulder. She was obviously dragging something heavy (at least for a 4 year old girl) along behind her. What that something was wasn't immediately clear however as she cleared the doorway and continued toward our bedroom what she was dragging down that tiled hallway floor came into hilarious focus. Though I still have a hard time crediting it.
Stuffed firmly into the toe of a set of Lu's pantyhose was a certain yellow cat named Rowdy, in clear distress at his predicament, being dragged along behind a very cute, very small and obliviously cheerful female child. The cat was locked into a sort of stocking shaped tube of misery, clearly unable to move a muscle except for it's vocal apparatus. And that not well as the sounds it was making were more of the "Help. I really, really want to get out of here but I'm embarrassed and don't want anybody to laugh at me" type as opposed to the "Turn me loose or suffer my wrath you human fools!" variety one would expect in such a circumstance. Rowdy occupied the very tip of the stocking, taking up no more than a very small percentage of the total available space of the hosiery in question. Stuffed in like someone was trying to make sausage out of fur, nylon and feline unhappiness. His face was all scrunched up. His fur sticking out through the weave. His eyes plastered open like he was Stooge Curly pulling a bank job.
How in the world she ever got that cat into that stocking is something that was never completely cleared up. Certainly if he hadn't wanted to go in there in the first place he would have put up a fight that would have gotten the MPs called on us but we heard nary a peep until his soft, plaintive cries of unhappiness alerted us to a possible case of felonious feline detention. Still, he must have had some clue that all was not well as he went head first down that silken tube. Enough so that checking for claw and bite marks in tender 4 year old flesh was our first reaction. Besides falling to the floor and laughing ourselves insensate in hysterical paroxysms of "OMG, how did she do that?!" of course. I mean, it was funny as hell. Not that Lu or I ever admitted as much to her. The really funny part is that cat would have tore me up something fierce if I had so much as entertained such an idea even in passing. But nope, not a mark on the girl. Unwilling would have been among my first, PC word choices had anyone suggested such an attempt. You tell me how a 4 year old girl stuffs a 6 pound cat into a woman's undergarment he don't want to get stuffed into. Unexplainable. Defies explanation. But there it is.
The best answer we ever got from her was that they were "playing". I'm guessing it was a case of cattus unwariness coupled with the natural guile and ability to talk us into most anything that small children of the female variety seem to have in abundance. Little girls can do wonders. Witness how my granddaughter can talk me into doing just about anything she asks. Or how a 4 year old stuffs a cat into a stocking meant for nothing larger than a slim and shapely calf. I guess men and cats are both kinda stupid that way. I still get the chuckles whenever I imagine just how that particular crime must have been perpetrated.
However it happened Rowdy was soon released from his silken hosiery prison none the worse for wear (except for his dignity of course) and The DO was strictly forbidden from playing "Guess what I've got in my bag" with any household resident ever again. All went on to live long, fruitful lives full of happiness and limited pantyhose imprisonments. Though I imagine Rowdy had a tough time living that little escapade down with all his Tomcat buddies.
So Happy Birthday Sweetheart. I love you very much and I wish we were there to celebrate with you. You're still the best thing that ever came into my life. Cats and stockings notwithstanding of course.
And you're welcome. Hey, I'm a Dad. It's my job!
Six aka DO's Papa